Please see below for a list of questions commonly asked by our customers. Should you have a question not addressed on this list, feel free to drop us a line and ask us!
Isn't all beef grassfed?
All cattle eat some grass at some point during their lives. In the United States, almost all cattle are fed corn in a feedlot for about five months before they are slaughtered. This five-month period comprises almost one-third of their lives. It is inarguable that allowing our cattle to eat grass and roam freely for their entire life is more humane for the animal and more environmentally sustainable for our land.
What breed of cattle do you raise?
Our herd is a closed herd on the maternal side. This means that all of the female cattle on our farm were born here, and their mothers were, and their grandmothers were, going back almost a century and a half. Our line of cattle goes directly back to the herd that James Edward Harris brought to this farm in 1866. We bring in bulls to avoid inbreeding and to add desirable traits to our herd. Our herd is Angus based, and most of the bulls we bring in are purebred Black Angus.
Does grassfed beef taste different than conventionally fed beef?
Grassfed beef does not taste like corn-fed beef. There is less fat in our beef, and the relatively small amount of fat that our cows do have is different, in that fat from grassfed beef has a lower melting point. This gives our beef a flavor many describe as "cleaner."
How do you define local food?
We believe the local food movement is not about 10 miles or 100 miles. We believe that the local movement is about the decentralization, deindustrialization, and de-commoditization of the American food industry. Most of the United States cannot cost-effectively produce high-quality grassfed beef year-round. Because of our favorable climate, we are able to do this in the Gulf Coast Plain.
We also believe what passes as “local” is, in fact, case-specific. For instance, “local” eggs and tomatoes probably should be sourced from your county. There is not a county in all 50 states that can’t produce eggs or tomatoes during certain months of the year. For consumers in the Deep South, “local citrus” should mean Florida citrus and not Mexican citrus. We feel our grassfed beef, lamb, and poultry are local to the Southern region of the United States.
Why is grassfed beef more expensive?
Grassfed beef costs a little more than industrial beef because it costs more to produce it. We are unapologetic about this. We do not use hormone implants, confinement feeding, antibiotics, or high carbohydrate feeds. These are tools that science has developed to take costs out of producing beef. When a farmer ceases to use these cost reduction tools, the production costs are added back. A farmer would go broke if he produced high-quality grassfed beef, and sold it for the same price as commodity beef.
Where can I buy your product?
All of our products are available in our online store.
Our grassfed ground beef is available at all Publix supermarkets. If you don’t see it, please ask the meat manager to stock it. You can also find it in the Kroger stores in Atlanta.
Also, our grassfed steaks, roasts, offal, ground beef, and chickens are available at Whole Foods Marketing in the Mid-Atlantic Region, as well as the South.
Our Pastured eggs can be found in Whole Foods Market stores in Atlanta and select restaurants.
Do you sell sides and whole cows?
We are not accepting sides and whole cow orders at this time. (April 2020)
Do you sell sides and whole hogs?
We are not accepting sides and whole hog orders at this time. (April 2020)
Since your animals are grassfed, what grasses do they graze?
Our pastures are established in warm-season perennials, including bermuda grass, bahia grass, johnson grass, and dallas grass. In the Winter, we overseed all of our pastures in cool-season annuals, such as rye grass, red clover, and white clover. We are fortunate to be located in the Gulf of Mexico’s coastal plain where we get 55+ inches of rain each year, and it rarely snows here. We are one of the few areas of the country that can keep something green growing in our pastures 52 weeks each year.
Are any of these grasses genetically modified?
We grow no genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on our farm.
Is your poultry feed non-GMO?
Yes! Finally, we have been able to source non-GMO feed in the quantity that we need to run our pastured poultry and swine operation!
What do you feed your poultry, in addition to the bugs and grubs they get from the pasture?
All of our poultry is outside completely unconfined 24 hours each day, 7 days each week. They get a tremendous amount of nutrition from insects in the ground, but we also offer them a non-GMO grain mix. This mix includes corn, soy, barley, and other grains.
How do you define “pastured"?
The USDA describes "free-range” as “having access to outdoors”. A lot of chickens that are labeled “free-range” were raised in conventional chicken houses. Our free-range pastured chickens are raised completely outdoors walking freely on our pastures. We provide a portable roosting house for them. Our chickens could walk to Atlanta if they wanted to. They are completely unrestricted. This is our pastured model.
How do you define “organic” meats?
The USDA has their own standards for organic animal production. We do not like USDA’s definition of “organic," principally because it allows the confinement feeding of corn. They just require it be organic corn. We feel that we go far beyond the USDA certified organic standards with our grassfed beef and lamb.
What breed of lamb do you raise?
We raise Katahdin Sheep. This is a hair sheep breed, as opposed to a wool sheep breed. We do not think that Georgia is the right place to produce wool sheep.
Is your beef dry-aged?
No. Dry-aging serves two purposes:
It is controlled tissue breakdown that helps to make steaks more tender.
It allows moisture to intensify the flavor of the beef.
We choose to not dry-age our grassfed beef. After a great deal of experimentation in our own abattoir, we have chosen to ship our beef as freshly as possible for the following reasons:
The controlled tissue breakdown can serve to make steaks more tender, but in doing so, it makes the ground beef and the roasts mushier. The same breakdown that is going on in the steaks is going on in these cuts as well. We feel that our steaks are adequately tender, and we don’t like mushy ground beef. Our steaks can be better aged in your refrigerator if you feel it necessary to make them more tender.
The flavor of our beef does not need to be intensified through moisture loss. It naturally has a wonderful clean terra noir that our customers say is addictive. The fresh flavor of our beef is one of its greatest attributes. We will not fool around with this.
How much freezer space is needed to store 1/8 cow?
1/8 of a cow will take up about two cubic feet of freezer space.
How do I make the most of my chicken purchase?
Make chicken stock with the bones! Place all the bones from the chicken back into the crockpot with just enough water so as to barely cover the bones. Put a tablespoon of vinegar in the water, and some onion slices if you like. Turn the crockpot on the low setting and cook it for about 24 hours. Keep an eye on the pot and add more water as necessary to keep the bones covered. This slow cooking allows the most nutritious components from the bones (calcium and other minerals) and cartilage (collagen) to seep into the liquid. After about 24 hours you should be able to crush the bones between your fingers. This is how stock is made!
How can I keep from my steaks from being tough?
It is best to marinate or pre-season your steak at least 24 to 48 hours prior to cooking. We say this because marinating or pre-seasoning your meat will help loosen some of those tougher fibers (acid [like beer, wine, vinegar, lemon juice] and salt help greatly with this). Try buying a few cuts (ribeye and New York strip are great choices) and let them wet age in the vacuum-sealed package in your fridge for about a month (or even longer). Typically, our steaks only get better with age.
What do you feed your hogs?
Our hogs have it made! They enjoy cracked eggs from our pastured egg operation, as well as blemished vegetables from our Certified Organic vegetable farm. We also offer them a free choice non-GMO grain supplement, containing corn, soy, wheat and other grains.
Can products be returned?
Once meat leaves our farm, we are not able to accept returns. When dealing with perishable products, ensuring that the cold chain was never broken is required. When it leaves our hands, we are unable to guarantee that the product is safe for resell.
Can I return my cooler?
For food safety reasons, we cannot reuse the shipping containers that meat orders are delivered in. But we do recommend reusing your cooler, or designing something like this! http://www.petresearch.net/content/building-affordable-outdoor-cat-house
Are your animals given any antibiotics or hormones?
No. Hormones and antibiotics are not used on our farm, which results in better beef.
Are your cattle artificially inseminated?
Nope! We do it the old-fashioned way, with a bull and a cow.
How did you develop your grazing model? What are the benefits?
We rotate complimentary animal species side-by-side through our pastures. The cows graze the grass, the sheep and goats prefer the weeds, and the poultry species peck at the roots, bugs and grubs. All species naturally fertilize the land. This way, the pastures are grazed and fertilized in three different ways.
Does White Oak Pastures practice sustainable farming?
Yes, we are committed to the principles of sustainability and stewardship. All animal remains are composted into organic fertilizers for our pastures. We tan the hides, we grind the bones and we sell the meat. Each part of the carcass is utilized, wasting nothing.
How does shipping work?
All ground orders, perishable and not, will ship for $9.95. If you choose to upgrade your shipping to an Air/Express option, then you will be responsible for the actual FedEx shipping rate. Our website will generate an estimate for you based on your zip code and order weight.
How long will it take for my order to ship?
For other shipping questions visit our Shipping FAQs page.
Is the plastic packaging used on your products BPA free?